Atlantis - Paradise Island, Bahamas
We have been to Atlantis at Paradise Island, Bahamas so many times that I've lost count. Up to this point, all visits have been staying from flying in, not from coming off a cruise ship. I believe the property has gone downhill and has gotten too big for its britches. However, I did not feel like that when I first went.
The property is huge; therefore, it requires a lot of walking or taking a shuttle. This is not a bad thing, merely something to be aware of. There are plenty of pools to choose from...loud pools with live bands to quiet pools with almost no swimmers. The pool service can be hit or miss depending on who is working on a particular day.
The first thing to decide when planning a trip is where you are going to stay. There are many choices...Beach Tower, Coral Tower, Royal Tower, the Reef, the Cove, Harborside...and even the Comfort Suites. The Beach and Coral Towers will give you the best rates when searching on Atlantis' site, but this is a situation where you get what you pay for. These two towers are the older towers and need a facelift. If you are going to stay in one of these two towers, you should consider checking out the Comfort Suites. Most likely it will be cheaper, it's just as run down, and you get all the amenities of Atlantis. In fact, Atlantis is so large that in some respects, you'll do less walking from the Comfort Suites than you would from other parts of the resort. Yet, I reiterate that Comfort Suites is run down. If you want a newer room but still somewhat affordable, check out the Royal Towers. I have found, the more expensive the room, the newer part of the building it is in. Something to look into when making reservations.
When we first started going to Atlantis, there was an airport on Paradise Island. It was a 7 minute drive (if that), and you were at the hotel. Now that airport has been turned into a golf course and you have to fly into Nassau. This is a bummer. However, I learned that if I hired a driver, then the driver could bring me to a grocery store to do some shopping before arriving at the hotel. The entire property of Atlantis is SUPER expensive. So it is nice to pick up some breakfast items, snack foods, and drinks. My kids would order expensive French fries on property for a snack, eat 6 of them, and go off to swim. Meanwhile, the birds would have finished the rest of their expensive fries or the fries would have gotten cold – either way, they would be wasted. So I like a few boxes of crackers or cookies or fruit to have in my pool bag for the kids to snack on instead. There are two grocery stores that your driver might want to take you to...one is a “tourist” store on Nassau and extremely expensive. The second one is still expensive compared to the states (after all, you are on an island and things do cost more), but it is more reasonable and where the locals shop. Tell your driver you want to go to the local grocery store (the one next to the liquior store). If you like to drink, then you can pick up some alcohol for your stay as well. For a driver, I used Sandra Ferguson, firstname.lastname@example.org. Yes, I realize her email is ridiculous for a business. LOL! However, she came recommended to us, so we used her. She has been reliable and even has car seats when I request them.
B and TravelMan at the Speedway
Once at the hotel and settled in your room, the kids will have a blast between the dolphin encounter, Atlantis speedway, “lazy” river (which is a bit "crazy" in parts), the slides, pool, kid water areas, the aquarium, shoppes, the kids' club...to do it all, you may have to bring a small fourtune!!
If you read any review about this property, you will almost always read about the expensive food. Just be ready and try to enjoy your meals. Some of our favorite places for dinner are Nobu (we don't have one where we live, so it's a real treat), Seafire Steakhouse (our favorite steakhouse anywhere), and Carmine's. I recommend a reservation for any of these locations. And if you are traveling in a busy season, get a reservation for every night of your stay.
Plan ahead before you go, book your transfers so you can stop at the grocery store, buy some food to bring to the hotel, let your kids soak in all the pools and waterparks. Try to relax – it's your vacation!
Don't panic! You can still get your Ben & Jerry's.
TravelLady: I had the pleasure of visiting Atlantis before the new casino (which isn't so new anymore) was even built. The hotel was vibrant. It was exclusive. It couldn't be beat. Now...it is just eh. But that doesn't mean we won't be back. Since we currently live in Florida, the Bahamas is easy to get to, and the kids do have a blast whenever we go. This is not the place for those on a tight budget.